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Special Constabulary

Volume 929: debated on Thursday 7 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the report of the Working Party on the Special Constabulary.

The Working Party on the Special Constabulary was set up by the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales in July 1974 to review aspects of the employment and conditions of service of special constables. Its members comprised representatives of the Home Office, the local authority associations, the police associations and the Special Constabulary. The report has been approved by the Police Advisory Board and will be published on 12th having been charged with possession of cannabis resin, or with cultivation of cannabis, in the last three years for which figures are available; and how many of these persons subsequently received non-custodial sentences;(2) how many persons, following conviction for simple possession of cannabis or cannabis resin, or for cultivation of cannabis, were remanded in custody for reports in the last three years for which figures are available; and how many of these persons subsequently received non-custodial sentences.

I regret that this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for each year from 1965 to 1975, how many persons were given sentences of immediate imprisonment, suspended imprisonment, borstal training or detention centre for offences involving cannabis.

The available information is shown in the table below.April. I am asking chief officers of police and police authorities to implement its recommendations as soon as possible.The report confirms the value of the Special Constabulary in supporting the regular police on special occasions and in emergencies, and the necessity for their proper training in this vital rôle. It makes recommendations which will have the effect of extending to all forces the best practices found in the working party's review of the whole country. The recommendations likely to have the most immediate impact are that special constables should wear diced cap-bands—in those areas where regular officers wear them—and distinguishing shoulder flashes, and that the supervisory grades should be limited to four, with titles and badges distinct from those of regular officers. These changes combined underline both the full constabulary status of the special constable and the administrative rather than operational role of the supervisory posts.I should like to take this opportunity of paying tribute to the excellent work being done by this loyal and devoted body of men and women in their leisure time and without monetary reward, and to commend membership of the Special Constabulary to those citizens who wish to make a worthwhile contribution to the maintenance of law and order in our country.